Monday, February 8, 2010

How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?

My father use to call me Imelda Marcos…you know the former First Lady of the Philippines’ who had over 3,000 pairs of shoes in her collection…because I was always buying shoes as a teenager. It’s rather amusing that I now get just as excited over cloth diapers as I do over new shoes. I find myself convincing my husband that I need “just one more to match her new outfit!”

It’s not surprising that one of the most common questions for parents is HOW MANY CLOTH DIAPERS DO I NEED?


1. The average infant will need to be changed every two hours for the first few months; at least until they begin sleeping through the night. That’s about 12 diaper changes each day.

2. Older babies need to be changed about 8-10 times per day.

3. Toddlers only need to be changed about 4-8 times per day.

Remembering that every baby has different needs at different ages you will want to start with enough diapers for about 24 diaper changes. This will allow you to wash every 2-3 days.

With AI2s like Soft Bums you don’t need 24 different diapers in your stash because you can reuse the cover 1-3 times by simply replacing the snap-in insert. A stash of 24 one-sized pocket diapers would run $406.80 (based on a popular one sized cloth diaper) whereas the Soft Bums Good Set (includes 8 covers, 24 inserts, and 8 doublers) would only run $282.95. In fact, you could get the Soft Bums Complete Pack (includes 10 covers, 36 inserts, and 10 doublers…enough for 36 diaper changes) for less than 24 of the one-sized pocket diapers…and still have money leftover!

I asked my friends on Twitter last week how many diapers are currently in their stash. Here are some of the responses.

@Kaylynbuckner I have a small stash for now but when I get the ones in the mail I will have 25
@mbvisor right now I have 29
@growingyourbaby I always keep 10 on hand
@amongthemess We’ve got apx 25 diapers in our stash. Been doing it almost 2 years now!! Realized I didn’t need that many, but I’m addicted!!
@graciekate 23! Newbie
@MotherhoodnMe about 25 and I’m an intermediate
@FamilyCrunch 2 months in and we have 30 dipes in rotation atm.
@rbrinner 26. DD is 20 months and I’ve been CD since ~2mo
@Waddlebug Currently, 16. Been diapering for 5 months and I STILL am learning!!
@oobinsnaffa I have about 50-60 CDs of various sizes and types…maybe more. CD for 2.5 years.
@Morgoonaroonie I have 28 in circulation right now…37 total. I have been doing this for about 8 months

As for me, I currently have a stash of about 30 cloth diapers. My daughter just turned one and the majority of our stash is made up of pocket diapers (bummer I didn’t learn about Soft Bums before she was born). Can I have too many cloth diapers?

Just like shoes, you can’t ever have too many cloth diapers. Just ask Imelda Marcos.

This is a guest post by Calley Pate, author and owner of The Eco Chic blog. Calley is an environmental consultant by profession and eco-blogger by hobby. She has been cloth diapering her daughter for one year. StumbleUpon
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  1. I started with hand me down proraps and went with Softbums when baby turned 5 months. I have just 5 covers and bought extra soakers; I was going for the lowest cost possible. I did the math and if these shells hold up this is a cheaper system than proraps.

    I love the aplix for fit but I'm worried about it withstanding 3 years of use.

  2. I'm sure if I count all my prefolds & doublers I'd be way over 50 diapers, probably closer to 75 or so. But I sew a lot of my own, so that's the main reason. I still have about 20+ that we bought.